ROOTING GUIDE TO THE NFL PLAYOFFSThe NFL is entering its two-week period of watch-ability. CFB is finally done, and the pros will play six games over the next fortnight to determine which teams qualify for the perpetually underwhelming Super Bowl. These are typically entertaining contests, though we confess we lack the proper frame of reference to assess the teams and likely outcomes. Perhaps you're like us - CFB fans who just can't devote the grey matter and energy to care about a bunch of play-alike teams who are pulled steadily by the powers-that-be towards .500 each year. If so, we've got a handy rooting guide to the playoffs.
Indianapolis at Baltimore - a tough game for Cal fans - the Colts have two Golden Bears on their roster, Pro Bowl tackle Tarik Glenn and safety Matt Giordano, while the Ravens counter with backup QB and Cal fave Kyle Boller. Tie-breaker - Baltimore's QB coach is one Richard Neuheisel. Go Colts!
New England at San Diego - I almost abstained here based on my support for the Lightning Bolts, because the Patriots have it all over the Chargers in the ex-Cal category. Ryan O'Callaghan is a starter at tackle, and Tully Banta-Cain is an important part of their linebacker rotation. San Diego has David Binn, who is the dean of NFL long snappers. Great guy, but we gotta hand it to the Pats on this one. Good thing this isn't predictive.
Philadelphia at New Orleans - here's an easy one. Scott Fujita is the heart and soul of the Saints' defense. Philadelphia, after being a great Cal team for some time (Brandon Whiting, Eric Zomalt, John Welbourn), has no Bears on its roster. Worse, their special teams coach is John Harbaugh - Jim's brother. They will undoubtedly be punished this weekend. Go Saints!
Seattle at Chicago - No Golden Bears on either side! But a closer look reveals a clear preference. Ron Rivera is the architect of Chicago's punishing defense, the 18th greatest Golden Bear (according to some folks), and hopefully a head coach next season. What does Seattle counter with? Gaze with fear upon the image of their offensive line coach:
It perhaps need not be said, but Go Bears!